Executive Education

How to manage being a big fish in a small pond…

Prina Shah

We all aim for career satisfaction, to be secure, challenged and productive in our workplace. That is not the case all the time. Some of my coachees have either outgrown their roles or are no longer in the right organisation to suit their skillset and career plans.

We all may come to such a cross road at some point in our career. How we handle it depends on our needs and personalities.

How to manage being a big fish in a small pond…

Continue to deliver. It can be easy to drop your productivity to suit the environment that you are in. Continually doing this may inhibit the way you work and it may in fact create a new habit and a new way of working leaving you being potentially less productive.

Continue to learn. That which is in front of you is your teacher. Even learning how not to do things is excellent learning! Learning need not be from a traditional training perspective in this respect; you could learn by observing others, observing the way systems are used and by observing the culture.

Don’t dismiss. It is easy to dismiss others as being not as focused when we you are ready for the next pivot in your career. Often I find with my coachees that they are high achievers. Not everybody is, and there is nothing wrong with that. We are all different with different work and life needs.

Have the conversation. Talk to your manager about your career needs. I find often that this is the step that people feel the most uncomfortable about, which is why I recommend these pointers to guide your conversation.

  • Discuss your achievements
  • Discuss your learnings
  • Ask your manager’s plans for the next quarter
  • Share your needs: if you want to get involved with projects, stretch assignments etc
  • Share your career goals: note this can be a tricky one if you have decided to move on. If you are planning on staying with the organisation, outline where you hope to get to by x months and ask you manager if that is realistic and whether they can support you get there.

Make plans. These plans can either be to move on to another organisation or how you will manage your career at your current organisation if you have had the conversation and have clarity about your future.

If you are looking to leave: contact your network, put the quiet word out there and see what is available and what skills you need to develop to get you there.

“It is the working man who is the happy man. It is the idle man who is the miserable man.” Benjamin Franklin

I wish you well in the trajectory of your career.

Here’s to happy employees, wonderful leaders and great company cultures: it can be done! 

I am a Coach, Consultant, Trainer and Speaker. I support CEOs, Leaders and HR Teams develop themselves and their company cultures.

Prina Shah, an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine.

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Prina Shah
Prina Shah is a leadership and culture specialist and founder of Prina Shah Consulting. Prina supports CEOs, Leaders and HR Teams develop themselves and their company cultures. Prina has 18+ years’ in-house management experience in Culture Change, Organisational / Leadership Development, Human Resources and Change Management for companies within the not for profit, government, utilities, small business and private sectors around the world. Prina provides practical tools that you can put into practice to develop yourself and your company culture. Prina Shah is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine.